The Devonshire Street Cemetery Board
The Devonshire St Cemetery Board appears to have been responsible for liaising with the relatives of those persons whose remains were to be removed from the Devonshire Street Cemetery.
The Board was not formally constituted by legislation or proclamation. It appears to have operated under the direction of the Under Secretary for Public Works, and existed only for the time required to contact and gain the permission of the relatives to remove the remains to another cemetery. The start and end dates of the Board are based on surviving records, as no other sources of information are available.
A note on the history of the Devonshire Street Cemetery
On 22 January 1820 the following notice appeared in the Sydney Gazette, "His Excellency the Governor has caused a spacious burial ground to be prepared and enclosed with a wall." (1) The site chosen for the new burial ground was one "of a range of sandhills lying south of the Brickfields". (2) The burial ground became known as the Devonshire St Cemetery. Although the Gazette notice appeared in 1820 the first interment in the new cemetery took place in 1819. (3)
The Devonshire Street Cemetery was closed in 1888. (4)
In 1901 the total area of the Cemetery was resumed to make way for Sydney's Central Railway Station. (5) As a consequence of the area being resumed for the railway, it was necessary to exhume the remains of the persons interred at the cemetery and move them to another cemetery, along with any monuments and headstones. The Public Works Department took the responsibility of liaising with the relatives of those persons whose remains were to be moved. The Department also assumed the cost of the removing and re-interment of the remains, as well as the monuments and headstones. (6)
Practically every metropolitan cemetery existing in 1901 appears to have received the remains of at least some persons interred in the Devonshire Street Cemetery . The majority went to the recently established Bunnerong Cemetery, which is today known as Botany Cemetery. (7) A small number were transferred to country cemeteries. (8)
(1) Royal Australian Historical Society, Journal and Proceedings, Vol.1, Part IV, p.155.
(2) Ibid., p.153.
(3) Keith A Johnson and Malcolm R Sainty, Gravestone Inscriptions NSW: Sydney Burial Ground, Elizabeth and Devonshire St, "The Sandhills", p.4.
(4) Ibid., p.5.
(5) Ibid., p.4.
(6) NSW Government Gazette, 22 January 1901.
(7) Johnson and Sainty, op.cit., p.15.